"Thinking of your horse as behaving badly disposes you to think of punishment. Thinking of your horse as struggling to handle something difficult encourages you to help him through his distress."- The Concordia Connection

January 13, 2018

Happy 2018!  I hope this new year brings you lots of positive adventures and look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones too in my travels . It looks like it will be a busy year.

I have had some time these past couple of weeks to reflect. I should have been writing modules for the online course but my head was not clear enough for that (yes I got that nasty bug), and it was too cold to do any real videoing for the course.  So, while I sorted through years of paperwork, I allowed my thoughts to wander.

I have been a teacher for many years and have taught many different things, not just clicker.

Whether by circumstances or temperament I was always driven to learn. In my childhood, I had almost no access to riding instructors but I read everything I could get my hands on. This was partly because of my lo...

April 24, 2017

There is a Beatles song that keeps running through my head: “Eight Days A Week”…and even though I spent eight days away from home, it wasn’t enough time to spend with all the amazing people and horses (and ponies) I had the pleasure of introducing to EquispeakTM and the clicker training.

The weather certainly didn’t cooperate, but the humans and the animals most certainly did. Everyone embraced the work and stood by me in times of technical computer issues (many thanks for that and yes a new computer is on its way!)

I gave three clinics during the six days and a couple private lessons as well, so no wonder I was a bit tired when I arrived back home, but we were on “horse time” so the days just flew by.

In the new format for the clinics, I give the participants a set of behaviours that they can take away and use...

February 9, 2017

I thought it was finally time to write about my clinic in Denman Island that happened last year! It is almost time for this year’s clinic and there is one spot left for anyone interested. Definitely one of the best times of my year, so why don’t you join us and find out what I mean!

At this clinic we all get to play with Cynthia’s fabulous donkeys. Now we usually get some horse folk who come but are skeptical about how working with a donkey can compare to working with a horse. They are small and so should be easy. Well it doesn’t take long for the donkeys to first win them over because they are so cute, but it also doesn’t take long for them to find out that they are stronger and much more particular about their training. The people come away with a new appreciation and a better set of skills then a lot of peo...

January 19, 2017

I hope you all had a great holiday season and have great plan for 2017.

I will admit I did hibernate or at least try to for a few days of our rather cold spell (minus 40!!) and had a few days battling one of those nasty bugs, but all in all it has been a great start to 2017. I have an exciting new announcement, but it’s not quite ready to unveil yet!

I have several clinics planned this year in BC and Ontario and even one in Newfoundland! So, if you are wanting more info on these or would like to plan one in your area please contact me. I will also be having the five-day intensive here again in July featuring my clicker superstar school masters for those who would like to see where clicker training can take you or just spend five days enjoying the positive world of clicker training.

I’m going to cheat just a tad...

December 14, 2016

A big part of my dream for many years is finally realized. My farm’s boarders are now ALL clicker trainers. It is so cool to go out to the barn and hear clicks and see food delivered and horses praised. There is no tension in the barn, no negative thoughts, just happy positive interactions going on. I’m also delighted to have a couple younger boarders who have embraced the work and are doing a fabulous job with it.

It has been fun to see the horses learn from each other. One of the boarders asked if I had been playing with their horse (like I have time, with 12 of my own…lol), as he was offering hind leg lifts, but the owner had never taught them. I said “Don’t you know they talk at night?” I wasn’t joking…I’m sure they do! Many people who come out to visit and have a look at the work have commented on the dif...

November 18, 2016

This year I was fortunate enough to be invited to teach at Heroncrest Stables, near Ottawa Ontario. I was there in the spring and had a great group turn out for it. I got to go back in October and thought I’d share some of the pictures and stories with you now.

In the first clinic I introduced the foundation lessons and we did a lot of human with human learning. I always start this way and often revisit it. By taking the real horse out of the training/learning process and using a ‘human’ horse it allows for the learner (trainer) to have much less to worry about while learning the mechanical skills needed.

I have covered all the foundation lessons in my early blogs here so please head on back into the history and check them out.  Many have demo videos to help you learn.

The second clinic this October followed a s...

May 6, 2016

I had the pleasure of teaching in Ottawa this past weekend. There were a great group of ladies with many, many years of combined horse experiences, but only a few who had been exposed to clicker training, and most of those through the dog world, so it was very exciting to see all of them get excited about the possibilities with the horses.

As the weekend unfolded and they could see just how fast the learning occurred they got very excited about all the possibilities for their horses.

The horses we used in the demos were a good cross section with regards to exposure to the clicker work.

It went all the way from Carter who was a rescue and Anne his owner did a lovely demo for us all of all the work she had done using the clicker to get him from a horse referred to as dangerous into a lovely confident fellow who lo...

March 19, 2016

As an aside for those of you playing the Tim Horton’s online no need to buy anything roll up the rim game, I found it to be an interesting experiment in reinforcement schedules. I played for a while and even managed to get badges that earned a ballot to a draw for a bigger prize and two free cups of coffee, whoopee. But I stopped shortly after the rate of reinforcements in the form of free coffees or tickets took too long to get. This is often what happens when training our horses; they suddenly stop doing the behaviour we were getting before.

There can be several reasons behind this:


1. Like in the Timmy’s example, often the rate of reinforcement or the amount of reinforcement (size of reward) is not enough to keep the horse ‘in the game.’

2. There may be a behaviour that you ask for after this first behaviour...